Category Archives: Philosophical Theology

Will we read the Bible in heaven?

I have been further thinking about theological assumptions and I was wondering: Will we need the Bible in heaven? Or, to put it another way, is sola scriptura true for all contexts?

BTW: the Wikipedia article on the five solas has a very misleading representation of the Catholic position:

Sola scriptura is the teaching that the Bible is the only inspired and authoritative word of God, is the only source for Christian doctrine, and is accessible to all — that is, it is perspicuous and self-interpreting. That the Bible requires no interpretation outside of itself is an idea directly opposed to the teaching of the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Coptic, Anglo-Catholic, and Roman Catholic traditions, which teach that the Bible can be authentically interpreted only by Apostolic Tradition and the ecumenical church councils. This doctrine is sometimes called the formal principle of the Reformation, since it is the source and norm of the material principle, sola fide.

Is that really what the Catholic Church teaches?? I think the above shows a bias and a misunderstanding of the concept of revelation as taught by the Catholic Church.

(cf. Terminology: tradition.)

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Catholic assumptions

Following on from the previous post, I wonder if the assumption implicitly held is that Catholics are defined liturgically? Discuss!

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Doing theology in the 21st century

There is an interesting post, Laypersons Theologically Criticizing Popes, It’s Unnatural…, at The Bride and the Dragon (edited by Stephen Hand). The second last paragraph is especially interesting:

Yes, it is unnatural and unseemly for lay men and women to resist the papacy. Laypersons should in normal times be immersed in career, the arts, Catholic culture and politics. But we have never had popes like the popes of that mysterious Thing called the Second Vatican Council. We’ve tried to be sympathetic. But we look around in astonishment at the vast horrifying wasteland of Catholic morals (one need only think of the clergy sex scandals or “Vagina Monolgues” perverting our young people!) and what passes for “theology” in the churches, in the schools, in the seminaries and priesthood and we know we can no longer be sympathetic—no longer gullible.

I have struggled with the idea of a Catholic theological method (inside and outside of the Church) for a while. The post is slanted to the right, to say the least, and has a slightly interesting idea of what is Catholicism. Yet, the post – whatever one may think of it – adds to the mix the question of lay involvement in the Catholic theological method (assuming there is such a thing!).

So what is the role of educated laypeople in this theological method? Not only on the level of theological decent but in a positive way.

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Theological presuppositions

I have been thinking about the Liar paradox again. (For those who came in late, consider the sentence, This sentence is false. The issue is the internal contradictory nature of the sentence. Also, what is the this referring to?) Also, I am reading Truth: A Guide for the Perplexed by Simon Blackburn.

The problem of paradoxical statements also appears within foundational theological assumptions. Take, All truth is contained within the Scriptures. The paradox lies in the fact that the Scriptures themselves do not make this claim.

My point: can this paradox be escaped? Or do we need to make an assumption that is plausible (received, in faith) and draw truths from that assumption. Are there any foundational statements that can escape the status of being, in some sense, paradoxical?

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Adjectival Theology: Take 2

I was thinking about a post I wrote some months ago (so first read this) about the use of adjectives within theological discourse. I might be belaboring the point but today I read a most interesting post, What Are We Looking For in the Scriptures?, that starts with the author’s self-description as a person who:

… stands in the tradition of the magisterial Reformation …

A similar terminology has been used by Jonathan (from the same blog) in the combox. So I want to revisit the use of adjectives in theology. Allow me to illustrate:

    Are these three speaking about the same object:

  1. The Catholic faith
  2. The Protestant faith
  3. The Buddhist faith

My issue, in a nut-shell, is a form of the language debate that St. Thomas, amongst many others, enters into in ST 1a 13.5. So, in the above example is the noun faith used:

  • univocally: same word, same meaning, with exactly the same sense.
  • equivocally: same word, different meanings.
  • equivocation a consilio (analogically): by intention, using the same word in the two different contexts for some good reason, even though the senses are not exactly the same.
  • I am ignoring, for the time being the other option:

  • Equivocation a casu: entirely by chance, with no rhyme or reason and no connection between the various senses, just an accidental feature of the language.

My point: Do we, when engaged in theological discourse across ecclesial borders, use language in any one particular way? Or, to put it another way, can we assume the univocal use of language within theological discourse? Shared terminology does not necessarily indicate theological agreement. The use of similar language, even on the most fundamental level, does not mean that an agreement has been reached.

The other side: I do not want to define myself out of the possibility of any discourse. But I am aware that the univocal use of language can lessen the impact of an argument or give undue credence to divergent points. The law of logic states that two contradictory points cannot both be right.

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What is …

…. faith? (NB. not Faith!)
I know that Saint Thomas gives a definition but I cannot find it at the moment – any help very much appreciated. Also a definition from someone not within the broader Thomistic tradition, ie someone who would consider themselves a Protestant. (For Lutherans: a reference to the BoC would be very much appreciated!

…. reason?
Maybe to expand it a little: difference between speculative and practical? Also a filling-out of the three types given by Saint Thomas: (1) intelligence; (2) “Acts of the mind” – conceiving, judging, and proving; (3) proving.

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A question of logic??

Let me attempt, yet again, to put the sedevacantist position in syllogism:

  1. A heretic cannot be pope or retain the papacy.
  2. Modern popes (since Pius XII or Vatican II) have been heretics.
  3. Therefore

  4. Popes since Pius XII cannot be valid popes.

My issue is with (2): Who says?? Etymologically heresy means one has a choice in the context of doctrine. Without a doubt it is the Church herself, by the very nature of heresy, which declares people or ideas to be outside of the norm, that is, to be heretical.

  1. Are sedevacantists declaring themselves to be the Church in every sense, yet without a visible head??
  2. Is the Radical Traditionalist position (especially those who deny any valid claimant to the papacy) a means vs ends discussion??
  3. Is all Radical Traditionalism an elevation of papacy over Church??

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